Music Reviews



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Artist: COLOR THEORY (@)
Title: The Thought Chapter
Format: CD
Label: 11th Records
Rated: *****
Six years after his latest studio album containing original songs (the beautiful Depeche Mode cover album "Color Theory presents Depeche Mode" has been released in 2003 but I'm not counting it now) titled "Something Beautiful", Brian Hazard a.k.a. Color Theory is back with a new album titled THE THOUGHT CHAPTER. Well, the first thing that pops out while listening to the eleven songs plus the Death Cab For Cutie cover of "Photobook", which originally has been released on 2000 on their "The Forbidden Love" E.P., is that Brian thought a lot: if "Something Beautiful" was piano driven and more acoustic on THE THOUGHT CHAPTER the experience of covering DM songs affected his songwriting and his way of arranging a track. The album sounds more electronic and richer. The instruments are well balanced and the characteristic Brian's song gain in pathos sounding more effective. "Hypothetically" for example could be a perfect simple piano/vocals song but the choice of picking up a synth sound where the notes sound like a mix of an hammond and a synth open up the sound and when the piano plays few chords the atmosphere changes again. Also the choice of using different drum machine sounds widen the sound palette and also recording upbeat songs like the following "If not now when", "Behind the rhine" or the great "Zero crossing" has been a wise choice because Color Theory fans will felt rewarded for the waiting. Check some songs at Color Theory website and if you are fans of bands like The Lotus Eaters and you like also electronic sounds, this is your time to give to Brian a chance... P.s. I'd like to give kudos to the four Maya Klein's drawings because they match perfectly the atmosphere of the album
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Artist: Troum
Title: AIWS
Format: CD
Label: Transgredient Records (@)
Rated: *****
While some may find the analog-origin of this material limiting (there are artifacts of the original tape recordings), I get the impression that Troum took careful attention to create an overarching and dramatic listening experience with AIWS. The crackles which launch the disc into the air also lend themselves to establishing a solid foundation for the analog soundworld that Troum inhabits, hinting at the journey ahead.

AIWS is the first full-length release by Troum since 2003. As per the accompanying notes, this is a collection of their own favorite works. Featured nicely are guitars, bass, voice, accordion, flute, sufi-songs... the list goes on. What is nice, however, is how seamlessly these instruments are woven together to create a tapestry of melancholic and sublime sounds that run a gamut of emotional and meditative states.

By track 7, Penthos (sorrow of mourning), one feels as though they’re watching an army trek across the fields of Siberia, or perhaps the listener is treading the path themselves. Very thought-provoking music, whose essence is difficult to capture with words. My favorite track on the album and a mere 2’46 long.

This album should appeal to a fairly wide audience, as the sound is ambient in nature but has hints of Rhys Chatham and Steve Reich, with the inward journeys of Godspeed You Black Emperor(!) or the scapes and arrivals of The Dead Texan, to boot. Kudos also goes out to the design for the disc, which makes AIWS a fine addition both visually and sonically to any collection.
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Artist: Bohren & Der Club of Gore
Title: Dolores
Format: CD
Label: Ipecac recordings (@)
Distributor: Play It Again Sam
Rated: *****
Patton's label Ipecac is known for scouting interesting pearls of music from across the globe, as in the case of Bohren & Der Club of Gore, a German quartet that definitely plays their own unique version of lounge jazz and slow doom without guitars, if you can believe that. Bohren has been around since 1988 and their debut release dates back to 1994. Ever since then, they've been stripping down their sound to less and less, removing the guitars and adding a saxophone (which doesn't come in right away and surprises you with all its Lynch/Badalamenti atmosphere and melancholy).
Their eerie and gloomy musical creations feature nothing but drums, organ, vibes, Rhodes, piano, sax and lots of reverb and venture down in the 20-25bpm range, about as slow as it gets (you can basically go get a coffee between the kick drum hit and the following snare hit). They reverse-engineer and deconstruct doom metal into this light (in sounds) but still heavy (in moods) blend that almost sounds like a cleaned up and completely undistorted and un-fuzzed version of Sleep, Thergothon, Boris or Sunn O))). Sinister but soothing, hypnotic and mysterious, depressing and enlightening Bohren plays without a doubt some of the most original music out there. Some have called it "horror jazz" (whatever that means), but make no mistake, there are no brushes (although some multi-rods), there is no swing and there are no seventh or major ninth chords here: "Dolores" is almost entirely in minor chords, and although there are identifiable melodies, they take a step back to let the overall moods shine in the dark light of "Dolores".
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Artist: Doomsday Virus (@)
Title: Drink the Kool-Aid
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****

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Albany-based industrial-metal/EBM trio Doomsday Virus rose from the ashes of a band called Twilight Mistress and they embrace the philosophy of a full throttle sonic attack of Die Krupps-type industrial beats and electronic bass lines supported by heavily distorted Rammstein-like guitars. Of course, as many bands of that creed do, they mention as influences the untouchable gods of the genre (Skinny Puppy, NIN, Ministry, KMFDM, My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult and so on and so forth) and although they are pretty good at what they do, I have to say I'd still rather go back to the classics (few bands of today even come close). Nevertheless if you are tired of the classics or looking for some new blood or a new spin of the old, their self-released "Drink the Kool-Aid" gives you 11 tracks of just that, packaged with a cool looking and original black&white&green artwork.